The Senate Communications Directorate is the official point of contact for members of the media with the Senate of Canada.
Do I need permission to film at the Senate?
Reporters who are accredited members of the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery with hand-held equipment don’t require permission to film in public spaces at the Senate.
Broadcasting crews, including accredited members of the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery, who require additional equipment must obtain permission to film in public spaces, including the Foyer of the Senate. Filming requires the rerouting or cancellation of guided tours of Parliament, and arrangements must be made in advance.
Both news media and educational filming requests should be submitted to the Senate Communications Directorate. Contact Senate Communications at 613-992-1149 to request permission to film. Please give at least 48 hours’ notice.
Permission to film in a senator’s office is at the discretion of each senator. Official permission from the institution is not required.
For media who are not members of the Press Gallery
If you are not a member of the Press Gallery, please contact the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery to obtain temporary credentials for access to Parliament Hill at 613-992-4511.
How can I arrange an interview with a senator?
Please contact individual senators’ offices directly to schedule an interview with a senator.
To arrange an interview with a senator related to the activities of a Senate committee, please contact the committee clerk for each individual committee.
Information about senators
Where can I find information about a senator?
Biographical information about current senators is available on the Senate website.
How can I find out which senators represent a particular region?
You can consult the list of senators on the website and sort it by the provinces and territories they represent.
Can I consult senators’ expenses?
Yes, the Quarterly Expenditure Reports are available on the website and published regularly.
What is the role of the Senate and role of senators in the parliamentary process?
The Annual Reports describe the activities undertaken by the Senate and its committees and provides an annual overview of the work of the Senate.
How can I request an official photo of a senator?
Photos of senators can be obtained from senators' offices directly, or by contacting the Senate Communications Directorate at 613-992-1149.
Covering the Senate chamber
How can I cover events in the Senate chamber?
Members of the Press Gallery are welcome to sit in the North Gallery of the chamber, in the first row, which is reserved for journalists. If you are not a member of the Press Gallery, please contact the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery to obtain temporary credentials for access to Parliament Hill at 613-992-4511.
Where do I obtain audio clips from the chamber?
Contact Senate Communications at 613-992-1149 to make a request. Note that permissions are required and the process can take time.
Can I record my own audio of a Senate chamber session?
Journalists on Parliament Hill can listen through the OASIS system. Pursuant to the Rules of the Senate, public sessions are allowed to be recorded.
How can I obtain transcripts of speeches made in the chamber?
The transcripts of all Debates of the Senate of Canada (Hansard) in the chamber are available on the Senate website the following day in both official languages. Every effort is made to post the Debates by 7:30 a.m., although there could be delays if the Senate has sat later the night before.
Covering Senate committees
Where can I find more information about committee meetings being held in Ottawa?
To find the time, location, name of witnesses presenting before a committee, and whether the meeting is televised, please refer to the Committees Schedule for details.
Televised committee meetings can be viewed online through ParlVU, a webcasting service that give access to live and archived streams of public proceedings of Senate committee meetings.
How committees function in the Parliamentary system?
The About Committees web page provides a wide range of information about Senate committee procedures as well as the roles and work of both committee members and staff.
What if I want to film or take photos at a meeting?
Generally speaking, filming and photography are only permitted in committee rooms before the chair of a committee “gavels in” a meeting, then all recordings must stop. Permission to film and take pictures after the chair of a committee “gavels in” may be granted; however, reporters must check with the committee in advance. Journalists should speak with the communications officer or committee clerk for such requests.
Members of the Press Gallery can obtain footage from televised meetings from the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery.
Is there audio output available?
Yes, XLR as well as mic and line level outputs are available in the Senate committee rooms.
Meetings outside Ottawa
What’s the difference between a public hearing and fact finding?
Senate committees often hold meetings outside Ottawa to gain a regional understanding of issues under study.
There are two types of committee activities that occur outside Ottawa: public hearings and fact finding. Public hearings follow the same format of Ottawa-based meetings. These hearings are open to members of the public and news media and the proceedings are transcribed and offered through interpretation in both official languages. Transcripts of these meetings are published and posted on the committee’s website.
Fact-finding activities are informal meetings or site visits which are not usually open to the public or the media. Journalists should speak with the communications officer or committee clerk for special requests. These activities provide Senate committees with essential background information which informs the public hearing aspects of a committee’s work, as well as its reports.
What kind of media setup is available for meetings outside Ottawa?
A designated media table will be available for journalists covering public hearings. An audio plug-in box is accessible to journalists inside the meeting room, as are headsets providing interpretation in both official languages. Transcripts can be requested following the meeting from the communications officer or the committee clerk.
Meetings outside Ottawa follow the same procedural rules as meetings held on Parliament Hill. Filming and photographing of proceedings are welcome until the chair of the committee calls the meeting to order by “gavelling in.” Any filming or photographing after the meeting commences can only occur with the express permission of the committee. Journalists should speak with the communications officer or committee clerk for special requests.
The Senate and Social Media
The Senate of Canada on Twitter
@SenateCA is the account of the Senate Communications Directorate. Produced by the Communications team, @SenateCA aims to provide Canadians with news and information about Canada’s Upper Chamber. The Senate of Canada’s hashtag is #SenCA
To find hashtags for each Senate committee and related weblinks, see the Senate Committee Web Guide.
If you are a journalist requiring assistance within the parliamentary precinct, please use the hashtag #JSenCA to ask for our help. We’ll do our best to assist you.